How the Texas Rangers Can Trade for a Frontline Starter
While the Texas Rangers may not dive into the free agent market, they could put together a package to acquire frontline starter, Noah Syndergaard.
Rumors have circulated over the past week or so that the New York Mets are shopping starting pitcher, Noah Syndergaard this offseason. Even with their recent deal with the Mariners to bring in Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz, the Mets may still be looking to move the star. Mark Feisand of MLB.com noted that Syndergaard being dealt was still on the table on Twitter.
Background On Noah Syndergaard
Syndergaard, nicknamed Thor, is a local product from Mansfield and pitched at Legacy High School. Having turned 26 years old in August, Syndergaard is set for arbitration this offseason and is under team control through 2021 meaning he still has plenty of contract value.
In 2018, Syndergaard had an impressive season on a relatively bad team starting 25 games and going 13-4 with an impressive 3.03 ERA. He racked up over a strikeout per inning and had a strikeout to walks ratio of nearly 4.00. Over the span of his career, 4 seasons, Syndergaard has made 86 starts with 37 wins and an ERA impressively under 3.00. His strikeout to walk ratio over his 4 seasons is just under 5.00 and gives up less than 1 homerun per 9 innings.
The biggest knock on “Thor” and it is a big one, is his ability to stay healthy. In 2017, Syndergaard was limited to just 7 starts after suffering a partial right lat tear. He missed time in 2018 with a finger ligament strain and oddly enough hand, foot and mouth disease. In his 4 seasons with the Mets, he has yet to make more than 30 starts or pitch over 185 innings which aren’t ideal for a starter of his caliber. Durability may be a factor in New York’s willingness to deal the starter.
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Could The Texas Rangers Put In A Legitimate Offer?
Despite his durability concerns, he still would be a fantastic addition for a Texas Rangers club desperately in need of a top-tier starting pitcher. With a rotation currently headlined by Mike Minor, Syndergaard would instantly upgrade the rotation while leaving room for continued improvement.
To get Noah Syndergaard away from the Mets would take an over-the-top package that would require the Texas Rangers parting ways with some top talent. Still, I think they could get the job done if they were willing to pull the trigger. Zachary D. Rymer of Bleacher Report recently compiled a list of possible landing spots for Noah Syndergaard and the packages it would take to get him there and while the Rangers weren’t on the list, it provided some reference points and inspiration.
To headline the deal for Noah Syndergaard, I don’t think there’s any question that the Rangers would have to part ways with Nomar Mazara. Having just dealt Jay Bruce to the Seattle Mariners as part of the Cano-Diaz deal, the Mets could be interested in an everyday right fielder, especially one as young and talented as Nomar Mazara. Mazara had a bit of a down year in 2018 hampered by some injuries, but at 23, he still hasn’t entered his prime and is under team control through 2021. He’s shown flashes though of his ability to hit the ball consistently and power which is a draw to any team in baseball.
The Rangers likely would have to include another Major League caliber player in any deal for Syndergaard. I like the inclusion of Jurickson Profar here as another controllable young player. Profar is under team control through 2020 and had a resurgence in 2018. Formerly the top prospect in all of baseball, Profar struggled to find a role within the Rangers organization but bounced back in 2018 posting a .254 batting average and a near .800 OPS. While he right now is slotted to get the majority of the time at third base for Texas this season, he could provide a legitmate alternative to current Mets third baseman, Todd Frazier.
Along with those two players, the Rangers will have to throw in quality prospect or two to get the deal over the line. Jonathan Hernandez seems like a real option to be thrown into a mix. The 22-year old right-hander climbed to Double-A last season and while he struggled in his 12 starts he still has the upside of a mid-rotation starter. He also has a shot to crack the Majors in the next couple of seasons meaning the Mets won’t have to wait around for the return on their investment.
This may be not nearly enough to move Noah Syndergaard. It may be plenty. The price for the Mets starter is up in the air as it’s rare a player of his caliber and age gets dealt during an offseason especially when it seems the Mets are looking to compete next season. The price revolves around the Mets willingness to sell and the bidding war that would likely ensue. If the Texas Rangers can find a deal near this cost though, it should at least draw their interest as it helps them compete this season and still fits into their rebuild mentality.